After what may be the best "fan" day for the Combine, there were many, many guys who moved up and down both my board and probably scouts' boards.
We'll take a look at the top guys at each position who really improved their stock dramatically (as many as two rounds in one case), and some guys who began a free fall that scouts didn't expect.
Quarterback – Jarrett Brown, West Virginia
For a quarterback like Jarrett Brown, the Combine definitely played to his strengths.
Whether they learned their lesson from JaMarcus Russell or not, when a strong armed quarterback displays good athletic ability along with the rocket launcher he has for an arm, teams are intrigued.
Brown posted the best time for a quarterback by far in the forty, running it in 4.54, showing he can make plays outside the pocket. But, more impressively, he showed great arm strength as well as accuracy in the throwing drills.
He’s viewed as a little bit of a project as a prospect, but I think he’s solidified himself as one of the top second-tier quarterback prospects in this draft, maybe going as high as round two.
Running Back – Ben Tate, Auburn
Tate is a running back that every team would love to have, but not sure if he’s gifted enough to be a feature back. Well, maybe before the Combine, that’s what he was.
Tate never had question marks about his toughness as a runner and his ability to stay low to the ground and drive forward. His questions lied in his ability to be a shifty and fast enough back to be a starter long term.
After running a 4.43, having a 40.5 inch vertical, a 10’04 broad jump, and still posting 26 reps at the bench (all in the top 10 for running backs at the Combine), team’s will be jumping on him in the second round. He may have even jumped higher than a running back listed later on this list.
Wide Receiver – Golden Tate, Notre Dame
Viewed as more of a precise route runner and effective receiver than a guy who can beat you deep, Tate showed his completeness as a receiver prospect at the Combine today.
I figured he’d get in a high 4.4s today which is very solid, and he’d be in the low end of the bench press, based on the film I saw.
But, it appears the film (or maybe Charlie Weis’s system) didn’t showcase Tate’s ability, because he ran a very smooth 4.42 and boasted 17 reps, among the best at both for any receiver at the Combine. He may have jumped into the second slot at receiver based on this showing.
Workout Warrior – Brandon “Scotty” Long, WR, Louisville
On film, Long was a very average prospect, a guy who likely will go undrafted and may have to fight to make a roster.
However, regardless of the film, the Combine told me that the talent may be there. Long measured in at 6’2", so the size indicates that his other attributes may be lacking because he’s more of a red-zone target.
But, he ran a 4.46, had 20 reps at the bench, and posted the best vertical and broad jump—41.5 inches and 10'3 feet respectively. I think he gave teams a very good reason to draft him, and he should come off the board now around the fifth or sixth round.
Quarterback – Tony Pike, Cincinnati
With Bradford, Clausen, McCoy, and Tebow not throwing, the only remaining quarterback that threw today that fans would definitely recognize was Tony Pike. He had a real chance to shine today and maybe make himself a strong case as the third quarterback in this class.
Personally, I was never thrilled with Pike as a prospect, as he’s been in the bottom half of the top 10 on the quarterback ranking list for a while now. And by running his projected slow 40 time, not having an NFL body, and being inconsistent in his throws, he may be drafted much later that first expected.
Running Back – Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech
I was a huge fan of Dwyer all season and was happy to see that he declared early for the draft, as I felt he was one of, if not the best, running back prospect. I felt he could only improve his stock at the Combine.
Honestly, his 4.59 40 time was better than I anticipated, and that’s right around where I thought he’d be. And that really didn’t lower his stock because of that. But only 15 bench reps and one of the worst broad jumps for a running back, that I was not expecting.
Dwyer will need to greatly enhance those numbers at his pro day if he hopes to be a first round back come April, and right now he may have fallen to third, fourth, or fifth on many boards.
Wide Receiver – Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas
Briscoe has been high on far too many boards from what I saw. I feel he’s not much better of a prospect, outside of being a little more polished and physical, than Ramses Barden last year from Cal-Poly, and he was a third rounder.
Measuring in at 6’2", scouts didn’t expect Jacoby Ford-like numbers (4.28 40 time) out of Briscoe. Still, a 4.61 for a receiver in the 40 is never very good, and add that to a nine rep showing for a red-zone target, and he’s fallen maybe out of the second round now.
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